I recently finished reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, the back story of The Lord of the Rings. One of the things that stood out to me was the strategy of Melkor, the evil enemy of the good creator Illuvitar. Melkor’s strategy was to feign (pretend) friendship with those he wished to seduce to his evil purposes, and in the midst of their conversations he would subtly sprinkle lies amongst truth. In the book this saying summarized his approach:
“But he that sows lies in the end shall not lack of a harvest, and soon he may rest from toil indeed, while others reap and sow in his stead.”
This is true of our enemy, Satan. It’s been his strategy since the Garden. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:14, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” Like Melkor, or rather, Melkor like Satan, pretends to be our friend and subtly plants lies in our minds, then can simply walk away because he knows that eventually they will produce fruit in our lives.
But what if we could recognize his scheme and identify the lies?
What if we then uprooted them and removed the from our garden?
And what if, in their place we planted seeds of truth?
And how do we know his lies?
Counterfeit experts will tell you that the way they become experts at recognizing fake money is not by spending all of their time handling counterfeit bills. On the contrary, they spend the majority of their time handling authentic money. Then, when a fake bill comes into their hand, it simply doesn’t look right; doesn’t feel right.
The same is true for us. Rather than filling our hearts and minds with the lies of the enemy and the voices of the world that he uses to sow lies, we need to fill our hearts and minds with God’s truth.
Galatians 6:7-9 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
There is a battle for your heart today. It’s a very real spiritual battle. And it’s being waged on the battleground of our mind. It’s a battle between God and Satan, good and evil, truth and lies. And you have a say in the outcome of the battle by what you choose to listen to and believe. Fill your mind and heart with the truth of God’s Word. I pray that truth will win your heart today.
Francis Schaeffer was away at college when he was experiencing a sense of failure over doing something wrong, then being chastised by other students for not “practicing what he preached.” In a letter to Francis his soon-to-be wife Edith wrote him something insightful:
“Franz dear –
We humans fall so short of our ideals at times that it is discouraging. But we wouldn’t want to preach that side of it – I mean we wouldn’t want to say – ‘Well, once a month it’s a fine thing to break through and do something entirely opposite to what you believe is right’ – just because all of us do do things like that. We don’t want to sanction it – just for the sake of preaching what you practice? We want to really preach the Christian life – and then we want to live it so far as is possible, but because we are human – we can’t be perfect. That’s where forgiveness comes into the picture – forgiveness for our mistakes. I don’t know whether you can read into this what I am trying to say or not. Anyway – I think the fellows are all wrong in picking on one small slip – when there is so much more in your life that is parallel to your ‘preaching.’ In fact, I think it might help your influence for them to know that a Christian is just as human as anyone else – the difference is that he has someone to go to with his mistakes – and difficulties – to get them smoothed out – that that instead of pulling him down … he goes on again – a bit more prayerfully – and a bit stronger for having found his feet and climbed up the hill he slid down. See???” (Francis and Edith Schaeffer, pp. 63-64)
See You At The Pole is a prayer rally where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, communities, and nation to God. It is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event that happens one day a year in September all around the globe. It is a day committed to global unity in Christ and prayer.Last year on this day, I woke up early and took my daughters to their respective schools for SYATP. At each of their schools, they were the only ones to show up. They prayed anyways. As I pulled away from the school, I had a few emotions going on inside of me. I was proud of my daughters for standing up and praying, even if it meant doing it alone. I was sad that more kids didn’t show up. I was determined to pray prayers of faith and believe that God was and is working, despite what we see. As I was driving home, I felt God whisper to me, “Tell your girls that although they didn’t see anybody else at the pole, I saw them at the pole, and I am pleased with them.” I sent them a text later in the day to that effect to encourage them.
This morning, one year later, I woke up early and did the same. This time my daughters were on their phones inviting friends to join them. I told them that if even one other person showed up, it would be double from last year. I am happy to report that 6 students showed up at Natalia’s middle school to pray. As we wrapped up an administrator approached saying, “The kids were drawing some attention, so I was asked to come find out what is going on.” I told him about SYATP and that they kids were gathering together to pray for the school, including him. He shook my hand and smiled. I then went home and picked up Claudia and we went to the high school, and 4 students and 1 teacher showed up. When the kids finished praying, I left to walk to my car, and I was stopped by a school employee who asked, “What were the kids doing over there?” “Praying,” I responded. “Are you guys Christians?” he asked quite enthusiastically. I told him we were and he lit up, telling me what church he goes to. It turns out I know the pastors of his church.
God moves when we pray. Not only do I believe He hears and responds to our prayers in a vertical way (God to us), He also allows our prayers to have an impact on those who are witnessing us pray (horizontal). People ask questions which can lead to spiritual conversations, Christians all of a sudden discover that people they see every day are believers, and people are challenged to examine their own faith. Pretty cool. Today as a dad, youth pastor, and member of the community I am proud of my daughters and all of the students who prayed today. And remember, there may only be one “official” day of prayer, but we are called to be people or prayer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. PRAY!